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Rangers and Ian Kinsler didn’t let Yadier Molina stop them from running

Oct 21, 2011, 12:46 PM EDT

Rangers Kinsler steals second Cardinals Furcal in Game 2 of MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis Reuters

I wondered yesterday whether the Rangers runners would continue to test Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

For most of Game 2 they avoided Molina, attempting zero steals, but that all changed in the ninth inning.

Ian Kinsler was gunned down by Molina in the first inning of Game 1, at which point the Rangers put on the breaks, but last night Kinsler led off the ninth inning with a single, stole second base off Jason Motte despite a great throw from Molina, and came around to score the game-tying run on Josh Hamilton‘s sacrifice fly.

Molina is one of the best-throwing catchers of all time, erasing 44 percent of attempted steals for his career, so the Rangers were smart to keep the running to a minimum until they really needed it. For many teams it would make sense to completely shut down their running game against Molina, but the Rangers had the league’s fourth-most steals during the regular season and manager Ron Washington has remained aggressive on the bases throughout the playoffs.

And it also helps that Kinsler is one of the best, most efficient basestealers in the league, swiping 30 bags in 34 attempts during the regular season to improve his career success rate to 86 percent. Of course, if Rafael Furcal somehow gets that tag down a split-second sooner Washington and Kinsler would probably be getting criticized all over the place today.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Lets be fair: Kinsler was able to run because Motte didn’t make him break his forward momentum on that play. The jump was ridiculous. That wasn’t so much as “testing” Molina as it was taking advantage of a relief pitcher doing a poor job of holding a runner.

    • cur68 - Oct 21, 2011 at 4:19 PM

      That’s the way I saw, too. When caught in game 1, Kins had a standing start and it was colder and thus it wasn’t even close. This time he was in motion, and it was warmer. Nothing anybody was gonna do would have caught Kinsler. Great steal, simply great. The fact that it was so close @ 2nd is a testament to Yaddi’s strength, quickness and accuracy.

  2. mkd - Oct 21, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I’ll be honest, right after Kinsler got on I carefully explained to Ron Washington that he better not waste his precious baserunner with stupid f*cking stolen base shenanigans. You try to run on Molina and get thrown out and you deserve to lose this series, I told him. Let the middle of your order do the work they’re paid to do, I told him.

    Then Kinsler stole second. His jump was perfect, his sprint was perfect, his slide was perfect. Molina’s release was perfect and his throw was perfect. It was just a matter of a great player playing great beating another great player who is also playing great. Yay baseball!

    • wfon1 - Oct 21, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      What did Ron Washington tell you after that?
      Tell him I said good call.

  3. spudchukar - Oct 21, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Well played Dr. and mkd, your descriptions are dead on. Gotta think the Rangers will be hesitant to run much though. Motte isn’t particularly skillful holding runners, and still Kinsler was safe by an eyelash. Can’t gain a lot of confidence knowing that.

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